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Downtown area's hotbed for testing new technology, including smart street lights

LAS VEGAS - The City of Las Vegas is riding the wave into the future because the downtown area is a hotbed for testing new technology.

On Wednesday, the city tested smart street lights at Tiny Stupack Park.  A few of the fixtures are installed above the soccer field.

If they pass their initial field test, you could see them alongside other innovations being tested downtown.

Overall, from the new tests to the little blue autonomous shuttle, downtown Las Vegas is becoming a tech hub.

"I think it's amazing, it is the future," said Jenna Leegstra of Kingman, Arizona.

"I love it," said Joel Delagarza, Austin, Texas. "I'm a tech guy, so I love it. The more automated, the better for me." 

AAA says there have been 23,000 riders like Joel Delagarza from Austin since the 1-year test began last November.

"It's kind of exciting to be living in a time where we're at the forefront of all these new automated technologies," Delagarza said. 

Locals probably won't notice most of the high-tech testing happening downtown.

"So these are things that we're testing (light turns on)," said Michael Sherwood director of Technology with the City of Las Vegas. "It's kind of a concept street light."

Sherwood has a few examples, including a smart street lamp, in the "innovation room" at city hall.

"We can leave the light on at 25 percent, Sherwood said. "If you're jogging at night, or a car drives down the street, we can move it up to 100 percent while you're in the area." 

The lights are modular, meaning each part swaps out with a twist.

Cameras, sensors, different colored lights, speakers and WiFi hotspots are just a few of the options available.

The city is also testing a traffic signal system that can communicate with driverless and smart cars to keep vehicles moving, along with smart trash cans, which notifies city staff of when to pull the garbage bags.

All of this is at little to no cost to taxpayers.

"A lot of the technology and tools have been donated by these companies, to test here, because of our worldwide brand recognition," Sherwood said.

For locals like Alex Tomlin, it's all a good idea.

"It's good because it keeps up with the times and we have to move with the future," Tomlin said.

The city is also testing a lot of data collection systems that gather information like traffic counts that can be used to help businesses determine the best locations to open storefronts.

If you're interested in getting involved in some of the testing being done go here to check out Innovate Vegas' website.


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